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Socrates Sculpture Park Design Competition

Queens, NY 


SITigation demonstrates where seating design meets flood mitigation. This public art piece project was conceived for the Socrates Sculpture Park 2018 Folly/Function and their need for movable, seasonal outdoor seating.


A modular, movable, and economical seating solution is proposed that can navigate uneven grade changes on site. Using re-appropriated landscape construction materials, seats are constructed of sand bags and tightly-woven burlap (or canvas) pouches, fabricated as custom and colorful coverings. This materiality provides a soft, sculptural seating form, which has the capacity for ever-evolving arrangements suitable for individuals, multiple users, and larger clusters of social seating. The design can morph to serve a range of purposes and programs, including low-scale active architecture for play, exercise, and fitness-based obstacle courses. The design allows for an array of seasonal arrangements; i.e., for exhibitions, performances, and events such as summer film screenings. Colored and or printed burlap fabric can provide playful expression. SITigation's materials are durable, biodegradable and weather-proof, requiring no special storage requirement, and can be repurposed on site for seasonal flooding.


The seat's techtonics aim to provide physical mitigation for on-site flooding that often occurs at this low-lying shoreline location, in the spring. The project thereby provides a contextual conversation about climate and coastal flooding. The park was built upon landfill and rubble, and today, lacks adequate site drainage, often leading to spongy ground and ponding throughout the park. These are unpleasant conditions for anyone wishing to sit on the ground, or for sculpture installation site maintenance, and overall site accessibility. Disassembled and reassembled as required, the sand bags act to absorb and contain pooled water on the exhibition grounds, at the park's street entrance, and act to protect against flooding at river's edge, as needed. The sand bags can also be stacked along the park's East River edge for larger storm events; it was reported that Socrates Park was 90% underwater following Superstorm Sandy. SITigation is performance seating serving various functions.

Design Team

Alison Duncan Design 

Max Scoppettone

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